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Now that people who own a full Bitcoin will be like people who currently own ten million USD or more in "liquid assets", I'm trying to come up with some way that I can safely and reasonably prove to somebody that I own X amount of Bitcoin. Being able to cryptographically convince somebody that you control (have the private keys to) a certain sum of Bitcoin (or "over X amount", to conceal your full wealth) will probably be very important in the near future. I want to prepare for that situation.

If I simply tell somebody that I own X BTC, why should they believe me? I realize that this same goes for fiat money as well. How many attractive females have not been lied to by some guy in a fancy suite who claims to have "ten mills" on the bank, but really is all broke and barely was able to afford the clothes he is wearing?

But Bitcoin is still seen by many as some kind of "joke" or "fake money". So I would have to prove it for sure for them to even speak to me. And if this requires doing scary operations in Bitcoin Core and possibly ending up revealing your private keys or other sensitive data... well... I don't even understand how a normal person would be able to verify your cryptographic "key" or whatever form this takes. They are just not going to bother with that.

In summary: how do I prove to somebody that I own and exclusively control X amount of Bitcoin, in a way which non-computer hackers can comprehend, yet does not rely on some kind of "traditional bank" or third-party commercial service?

For example, those who went on those "Bitcoin rich people" cruises, how were they verified to actually own a bunch of Bitcoin? Can anyone just claim to own X BTC and they will believe you? I don't get how this is done.

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The way that this is done is to sign messages using the private keys which correspond to your UTXOs. Your UTXOs are what make up your Bitcoin balance, and by signing a message with the keys associated with them, you are proving that you have the ability to spend those UTXOs.

To verify, someone can verify the signed message, compute the addresses for the keys you used, and then lookup the addresses and see how much Bitcoin are associated with all of those addresses.

For the average person, there is software that can verify the message for you and they will return what address was used in signing that message. Then they can just take this address and look it up on a block explorer.

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  • Hmm... Sounds awfully complicated. How many people know about and do this? Dec 28 '20 at 19:40
  • Signing a message with an address (technically not what you do, but that's what everyone calls it) is fairly common and implemented by a lot of wallets. There's guides and tutorials on how to do it for most wallets. While it does require you to know enough about Bitcoin to have a wallet and understand what keys are, the barrier to entry is fairly low and your average person should be able to sign and verify messages.
    – Andrew Chow
    Dec 28 '20 at 20:47
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by Displaying your Bitcoin address publicly, if you write your name next to it, it could be associated with your name, but if you don't share any information about you and give your Bitcoin address to someone, they can verify how much BTC is on the address without any risk of getting in trouble or loosing your funds.

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  • This frankly makes no sense. What is "my Bitcoin address"? There are only receive addresses and private keys AFAIK... Dec 28 '20 at 19:40
  • Ok then, recieve address if you prefer. Or you just sign a bitcoin message.
    – Astro
    Dec 28 '20 at 20:01
  • Since the blockchain is public, can't I just scan through for any address associated with roughly X amount of Bitcoin and post that address with my name next to it? I don't see how this proves control over money. bc1qgdjqv0av3q56jvd82tkdjpy7gdp9ut8tlqmgrpmv24sq90ecnvqqjwvw97 Dec 29 '20 at 20:17

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